I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

How to Respond to a Materials Challenge Downloadable Examples via Book Riot

As I wrote about here, I recently gave a presentation on how to prepare for a materials challenge drawing on my 20+ years experience as a Librarian and Trustee. At this link I posted some of that information.

But the most important thing for you to know is that your FIRST STOP for all your materials challenge needs is Book Riot's coverage lead by editor Kelly Jensen.

Jensen provides the news, yes, but she is also creating and sharing action oriented documents and information to prepare for a materials challenge. These tools are essential. From examples policies to best practices to information on the groups who are sponsoring these challenges all over the country, it is all at this link.

She was also a guest on On the Media last week. Listen here.

Here is a recent example of a challenge to Gender Queer in Texas that Jensen wrote a post about. The library has made the challenge and their extensive response is available to download.

The director's response is textbook perfect. I especially love how he countered the argument that it is pornogrpahy. Please read it in full. Again, you can also download it for you own use.

But you need a solid policy behind you BEFORE you can respond in this way. Please go make sure your Collection Development policies are up to date. Make sure they make it VERY CLEAR that the librarians with collection responsibilities make the decisions on what books are in the collection. Outline how they  do it. Here is an example from my library. This CD policy is also used as an example in textbooks.

Make it clear that the Board does not make collection decisions. They only approve the budget, set the policies, steward the building, and evaluate the director. That's it! They should not even get a chance to rule on challenges. They are simply there to be told they happened and how the staff responded. Like any and all communications the library receives.

If your Board has a problem with how the library responds to a specific challenge, they can address it policy changes and with the Director, but they cannot make a final say on an individual title-- unless your policy allows that.

Please stay up to speed on the latest news, update your library policies, and contact me if you need advice or help. I am currently offering censorship consulting for free. Click here for my contact information.

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